Originally Posted by Fire Ant Farm
Originally Posted by bnjrob
I forgot to mention about your size and that you are setting yourself up for them to be turned over in a strong wind. With a long skinny pen, you increase the risk of it blowing over. If it's going to be 8 feet tall, you're about guaranteeing that the sucker is going to be overturned in the wind. I have pens that are almost exactly the dimensions that you want to use. They take a lot of buffeting by the wind and I've had the roof pulled partly off in a storm. Have not had them turn over, but they are VERY heavy and can't be moved without being towed. If you're wanting to make these light enough to be modular, I think you're asking for trouble to make them this size and be lightweight too. I've had a 4x10 foot open air run turned over in the wind - and you're wanting to put a 4 walled coop on yours which is going to catch even more wind.
You don't need the run to be 8 feet tall. Unless you're over 6 ft tall, 6 ft is high enough. If you want a 4 walled coop, then 2 ft underneath the coop is plenty of room, that's where my similar houses sit and I have large cocks that get under there just fine.
We've found open air A-frames to be a much better option and that that is what we started building a couple of years ago. With the wide base, even our small a-frames that we use for single males, occasionally peaceful double males, and sometimes a few hens, they have stayed put in high winds even though they are light enough for me to move them around. We house single males in 4x8x3 ft a-frames, 2 cocks fit comfortably in a 4x10x3 footer. I've kept a couple of hens in the 8 footers without a problem.
This is a REALLY good point (wind being a big problem here). Can you make your A-Frames modular/ able to be disassembled? (I need to wrap my head around how to build these, at least the enclosed part).
When you say 4x8x3, do you mean 4x8 on the ground, and 3 ft tall at the apex? How large is the enclosed "henhouse" part of them?
- Ant Farm
Edit to add: I'm so glad I asked for input!!!!
No, we don't make anything that can be disassembled. When you make things that can come apart and be put away, you wind up having to sacrifice some security and sturdiness. For us, with birds that are not easily replaced, it's not a risk we want to take.
You could make these modular with the way that I built them. When assembled, they would be even heavier than these are, because you'll have to make each side wall module a separate 4 sided frame, rather than just having a ridge beam and rafters that you are attaching the wire to permanently. But I can see how it could be done.
Here are some photos of our small a-frames. The bottom framing is either 4x8 or 4x10 ft. They could be expanded to 4x12. They are roughly 3 ft tall at the peak.
The covered apartment on the angled sides is 2 ft wide, to accommodate a single cut of PVC corrugated roofing panel. This could be expanded to 4 ft wide and could also be made using plywood, which would make it heavier and for a modular approach, would be easier to take on and off. The back is plywood.
With these PVC side walls, I tack on a Tyvek feed sack to make a slight hammock between the two 2x4 rafters (white side on the inside to reflect light so it isn't so dark inside). I cut a piece of 1 inch foam board insulation with the metallic side UP to reflect sun/heat away. The insulation board is attached to 3 crosspieces. The insulation is put between the rafters, with the feed sack hammock making the inside wall covering, the crosspieces are screwed to the rafters. 1/4 hardware cloth is put on the entire apartment area on top of the insulation and crosspieces. The PVC roofing panels go on top of this. Air space is left at the top to let heat out from the apartment, and then a piece of roofing panel is put on top
If you use PVC panels, we found it is much cheaper and sturdier, by NOT using the fancy screws the PVC roofing panel company recommends. We use 1 1/4 inch exterior screws put through a fender washer that is 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 inches across.
You can see the ridge cap made of PVC roofing panel. We don't suck it down tight to the roof, to allow heat escape from inside the apartment. Double layer shade cloth is seen on here and it is a must. It ends about 18 inches up from the base for good air flow. This winter we actually changed over to putting PVC roofing panels in place of the shade cloth permanently so I don't have to mess with putting tarps on for rain protection in winter. For winter also, I put clear PVC panels on the door side of the wire to provide north wind protection for them.
You can just see the edge of the crosspieces sticking out at the end of the roofing panels where the screws and washers are at. The roost is removable. 1/4 inch hardware cloth is on the apartment floor to keep them up out of the wet. The large pieces of wood hanging off are the doorstops for the large access door.
On these, because they are on the ground, 2 ft hardware cloth is put on with welded wire on top of that. These were made to be multifunctional. For a hen brooding chicks, we have to put a step in for them, since the 2x4 is too tall for them to get into the apartment. A feeder and nipple bucket is hung from an eye screw in the ridge beam, right in front of the access door for easy refilling.